World Day Against Child Labor: Our Hands Tell a Story

Our Hands Tell a Story

Look down at your hands for a moment.  Reflect on the story that your hands tell.  While perhaps your hands are soft and gentle to care for those who are ill.  Maybe your hands have paper cuts on them from sorting documents on your office desk.  Or could it be that your hands have splinters in them, and your palms have calluses from working with heavy machinery?  You may have actually carried a life in your hands; a young child, innocent and pure, untarnished from the elements of the world.  Children’s hands are typically dirty from playing in the sandbox, covered in paint from arts and crafts class, sticky from candy; unblemished.  However, this is far from the reality of millions of children across the globe who are forced into child labor.

Let our hands now come together in a posture of prayer for children who are deprived of the joys of childhood.  Today the United Nations recognizes World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL) in striving to eliminate all forms of child labor.  Let us be partners in changing the narrative of the story in these children’s hands.

It’s not OK!

We often say at Food for the Hungry (FH), ” it’s not ok,” and this is one of those indicative moments. It’s not ok that children have to walk miles to get water for their families in Ethiopia or families force children into sex trafficking to support their families in India. It’s not ok that children return home with blisters on their hands from working in the fields of Guatemala.

Although it can be a difficult undertaking for parents to buy into the teaching that they can thrive without putting their young ones to work.  It is particularly difficult for those widowed that have limited access to resources and opportunity; children are their resource for income.  FH is active in investing wisely in programs that encourage and enrich the lives of vulnerable children. By expanding educational experiences for children and their families, they learn that there’s a better way.

The International Labour Organization (IOL) expands upon this perfectly. “The returns on the investment in ending child labor are incalculable. Children who are free from the burden of child labor are able to fully realize their rights to education, leisure, and healthy development. This provides the essential foundation for broader social and economic development, poverty eradication, and human rights.”

A Happy Ending

The reality is that we know not all stories have a happy ending but it doesn’t have to end here.  Children are our future and we believe that they have the power to transform darkness into light.  May they look down at their hands and have a happy ending to their story.  May they see a tale of hope, strength, and dignity.

Matthew 18:1-5  says ‘At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” ‘

If you are currently sponsoring a child I would encourage you to write your child and share the testimony that you hold in your hands of God’s promises.

Bangladesh kids learn